BEING YOUNG: Swiping right and left is here to stay

Online dating apps as much about personal affirmation and entertainment as it is relationships

By Marlowe Evans/Special to The News

What’s something controversial and often mocked, but exceedingly common?

If you guessed online dating, you just yourself earned 10 points.

Young people might still joke about things like online dating or dating apps, but they definitely still use them – especially apps like Tinder.

Now, Tinder is technically supposed to be for people 18 and older. But, it’s common to just put a random number in the age bar and then put your real age in your bio. The app has tried to cut down on underage users, but there isn’t much they can do about people lying.

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Lying can be second nature to Tinder users.

Some of the most common complaints from users of online or app-based dating platforms is that people either edit their photos so they’re more attractive, or that they use fake photos altogether (also known as catfishing).

Some people also accuse apps like Tinder, which use location services, as dangerous. Meeting up with a stranger from the internet always brings risk, and should always be done in a public place.

But increasingly, apps like Tinder aren’t being used for finding relationships, or even casual hook-ups– they’re being used as a confidence boost.

Part of Tinder’s appeal is that it’s set up almost like a video game.

You set up a profile complete with a set of photos, a bio, even a favourite song– and then you start playing.

Users’ feeds are made up of profiles on which you can either swipe left – which means you’re not interested – or right, which is a yes. If you swipe right on someone and they swipe right on you, then you match.

After that, you can message one another. But many young people don’t actually go that far with it. Sometimes, just swiping back and forth over and over becomes entertainment. Getting a match is a little pickup in self-esteem that says, “this person thinks I’m cute.” Using the app that way, it’s pretty harmless.

Tinder is the most popular dating app in Canada, and most of its users are younger than age of 25. Many of those younger than 25 are actually under 18, but that doesn’t seem to discourage anyone from joining in.

There is still a lot of stigma, especially with older people, that meeting online is weird, or “desperate,” but young people don’t always see it that way.

There are hundreds of memes about Tinder, even entire Instagram accounts dedicated to strange or funny Tinder messages people have received.

Vancouver TheatreSports League has an entire comedy show dedicated to dating and dating apps called OK Tinder– Swipe Right Comedy that’s outrageously funny.

Things like Tinder have become ingrained in popular culture, and weird or not, they’re most likely here to stay.

Whether you swipe right on online dating or not, it’s not going anywhere.

– Marlowe Evans is a student at the University of New Brunswick from Maple Ridge who writes about youth issues

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